Sardegna - Places to Visit - Cagliari
The city lies on the south coast of the island towards the centre of the gulf of the same name, and the modern part stretches along the shore as well as inland, on several low hills between the San Gilla and Molentargius lakes.
Probably founded in the 9th century by the Phoenicians, Cagliari grew considerably from the 7th century onwards, with the presence of the Carthaginians who turned it into a busy and important trading base. It passed to the Romans in 248 BC. and two centuries later became a municipium.
After the fall of the Western Empire, the city was dominated by the Vandals before being taken by Byzantium in 534. With the passing of the centuries, Byzantine rule became a mere formality, especially during the 8th and 9th centuries, when Saracen influence was particularly strong and the city frequently sacked and devastated.
Autonomous and capital of the Cagliari Giudicato till 1258 when conquered by the Pisans who built massive fortifications, it passed to Aragon (Spain) in 1326, and then to Austria in 1708, before becoming a possession of the House of Savoy, and part of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1720. After incorporation into Italy, the walls and other fortifications were destroyed, giving rise to urban development, particularly extensive after the last World War.
The city monuments include: the Roman amphitheatre (2nd century BC.), the Pisan-Romanesque cathedral (13th-14th century, restructured in Baroque style in 17th century) with fine Romanesque pulpits, the 14th century towers of the Elefante and S. Pancrazio, the church of the Purissima (16th century, Aragonese-Gothic), the church of SS. Cosma e Damiano (5th-12th century), the church of S. Domenico (13th-16th century) with fine cloisters, the church of S. Michele (Baroque, 17th century), Palazzo Comunale (in Aragonese-Gothic style).
The economy of Cagliari is based on an active commercial sector, with one of the largest Tyrrhenian ports, and on an extensive administrative sector related to its functions as chief town of both region and province, as well as on traditional crafts and the extraction of sea salt.
The recently developed industrial sector includes several modern production units in chemicals and petrochemicals, engineering, textiles, construction materials and food manufacturing. There is an outstanding degree of cultural activity associated with the university, and considerable tourism.
Events: Fiera Internazionale della Sardegna (April-May), Sagra di S. Efisio (1st-4th May), Good Friday Procession, Festa della Madonna di Bonaria (24th April).
Famous People: Maria Cristina di Savoia (wife of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, 1812-1836), Cesare Cabros (artist, 1886-1968), Ennio Porrino (musician, 1910-1959).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Biblioteca Comunale, University Library, Conservatory, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Pre-roman finds), Galleria Comunale d'Arte, Museo Sardo di Antropologia ed Etnologia, Museo Sardo di Geologia e Paleontologia; Museo di Mineralogia, Botanic Gardens.
In the Province: Carbonia (mining), Iglesias (mining, museo minerario), Quartu S. Elena (Museo `sa domu e farr'), Villacidro (holiday village), S. Margherita (seaside resort), Sanluri (agricultural centre), Barumini (nuraghe).